Q&A: Becoming Entrepreneur after Graduation


This week, we are featuring a casual chat with Hadi Ismanto, a graduate of the University of Melbourne who has pursued an entrepreneurship track after graduating with Bachelor of Arts, majoring in media and communications. He founded and runs a new media company, which includes online lifestyle magazine Manual.

1. What did you study and where?

I studied at The University of Melbourne, majoring in Media and Communication.

2. Describe what you are doing now.

I started a new media company with a hope to increase the standard of the media and its influence here in Indonesia. Our pilot project was to initiate an online publication called Manual Jakarta, a magazine that focuses on lifestyle topics and happenings around Jakarta. We have also started a creative agency called MALT. Through the agency, we hope to increase the standard of how media is being produced and executed in the country.

3. Why did you decide to choose an entrepreneurial career after graduation?

I have a strong sense of belonging that Indonesia is my home, and with the rise of its economy and the amazing opportunities around every corner, I’d be dumb to not seize them. Sure, the initial journey will be uphill and hard, but it’s a better path to take than to realise that you’ve missed the wave five years down the road.

4. Have you always wanted to become an entrepreneur since university days?

Not really, I knew that eventually I would want to start my own business, but during university there were many times in which I found myself clueless and not having any idea on how things worked in the “real world”.

5. What are some of the most valuable things you have learnt at university?

Being able to observe how the country and the city is run. Having come from a country such as Indonesia and arriving in Melbourne, the most liveable city in the world, the gap of comfort is just huge. It’s a privilege for me to be able to see how the city and the people behave and to learn the positive points from this experience.

6. Which ones have best prepared you to be an entrepreneur?

I think coming from an Arts degree, I have learned that things are not always the way they look. From problem solving to learning how to look at things through different perspectives, I learned that entrepreneurship is essentially that – where you are required to wear different kind of hats, spectacles and shoes to succeed.

7. What are the best things about being an entrepreneur?

Having the opportunity to impact the people, the community and the environment that your project touches.

8. What are the worst things about being an entrepreneur?

The feeling of insecurity when you are moving from one milestone to another.

9. If you were to redo uni once again, what would you do differently?

I am pretty happy with how I spent my days at university, especially with the number of activities and communities where I was actively involved in. However, if I were to redo uni once again, I would want to experience living on campus and making friends with the local students.

10. What are your advice for university and pre-university students who wish to become an entrepreneur?

I guess it can be summed up from one of my favourite actors, Jim Carrey’s quote: “You can fail at something You don’t want, so You might as well take a chance doing what You love.”

11. How can students who want to become an entrepreneur make use of their university days?

I think it’s by keeping yourself busy outside university, on top of getting good grades and doing your assignments well. For me, since I knew what I wanted to do after graduation, I spent my last year of university getting to know people, learning the experience and skill sets that I knew I would need in the future.

Everyone would have to go through these learning phase. Isn’t it better if we start early, while we have the freedom and time to do so at university?


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